I beat the drum a lot about public wine tastings. They are the best way for wine lovers to educate their palates. Period. There's just no substitute for tasting a lot of wines in a single "sitting" to learn what the differences are, and more importantly, what you like.
One of the other nice things about public tastings, put on as they are by big organizations, or in this case, publications, is that they often allow you to taste wines that you might not get a chance to taste otherwise for some reason -- whether that is because of their cost, their small production levels, or the fact that it's simply a pain in the rear to go track them down.
Of course one of the other reasons you might not get a chance to taste certain wines is because they've been so highly-rated by some magazine or critic that they're pretty hard to find on the shelves of even the best wine shops in the country. Which is one of the many reasons I urge people to attend the Wine & Spirits Top 100 Tasting every year. While inclusion in Wine & Spirits doesn't quite make the available inventory of a wine vaporize, as a top score in some other magazines will do, the wines that are chosen for their list of "Top 100 of the year" are really some of the best wines in the world, and are not all that easy to track down for the casual wine lover.
I go to this tasting every year because of the high quality of the wines, and the excellent food that is usually on offer. This is, of course, the reason that so many other people go too (it can get a little crowded at times). But despite the popularity of the event, it is still one of the best public tasting events in San Francisco each year, and usually has a few gob-smacking, head-banging, utterly fantastic wines mixed in with a whole lot of truly excellent ones.
Like all such fancy tastings these days seem to do, some of the proceeds from the event will benefit Baykeeper, an environmental non-profit focused on the health of the San Francisco bay ecosystem.
Starting last year, the magazine also adding an additional feature: highlighting the food of their top Bay Area restaurants. The food was fantastic. So grab a wine loving friend, or look your best and try to make a new one at the tasting, but definitely don't miss the Top 100.
2011 Wine & Spirits Magazine's Top 100 Tasting
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Cityview at the Metreon
135 Fouth Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
415-255-7736 ext. 2 for more info
Tickets are $105. A limited number of VIP tickets are available for $150 that provide advance entry (at 6 PM). This event will likely sell out, so I recommend buying tickets ASAP. They can be purchased online at the event web site.
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